The Swim (.6 mile)
I was really nervous about the swim. Gary was with me on the shoreline and he noticed my unusual broodiness. He said, "Honey, if you're dreading this and it's not fun for you, don't do it. If it is fun, go out there and have fun." That advice would help me later on.
Waiting to start the swim.
It just seems to take me a few minutes to find a good groove. I was hoping that warming up beforehand would help but it didn't. I did the final and third wave of the Sprint race. It was an all female wave. By the time I just started to find my groove, the girls were many yards ahead of me.
A minute or so later, I heard splashing behind me and it was the men from the Mini (Olympic distance race) heading my way. "Crap!" I told myself. I knew there'd be no way I was going to swim fast enough to get out of their way without killing my groove and running completely out of breath, so I decided to just keep swimming and just kind of tread until they got out of my way.
My biggest, biggest fear about going into the swim was getting bumped and kicked to death - literally - but it wasn't that bad. (I may have bumped into someone once during my first tri.) I did get bumped a lot, but no one kicked or hit me hard. Now that I've endured that, I won't be as afraid of the swim next time.
Compared to my first race where I had the guidance of another competitor throughout the swim, I was completely on my own. That was really okay this time. I was ready for this. I wanted to be left alone.
I didn't even try to take the standard advice to "just swim to the next bouy." I was just enjoying the fact that I was swimming - really swimming - and that it was a pleasurable experience. I was just going to "have fun." Before I knew it, I was almost at the final turn before the turnback.
(I came in 197/197 on the swim).
THE BIKE (12 miles)
The headwind on the bike was a beast. It was easily 20-30 mph. Later on that night, pretty much the whole state of Ohio's electricity would be out because of winds from Hurricane Ike up to 70 mph. Mother Nature was giving us a taste of what was to come that morning. Thanks for the preview, Mother Nature!
Once I changed directions and the headwind was gone, I went much faster. I kept on getting passed by people doing the Half Ironman. I saw no one from the Sprint. Why should I? I was the last one out of the swim and everyone else was probably done with the bike. Unlike my last race, I passed no one - no one! Three people that passed me told me I was looking good and to keep up the good work, or something along those lines. That was really cool.
(I came in 186/197 on the bike.)
THE RUN (3.1 miles)
I'm pretty pleased with my run time against the others. This was my best event as I came in 141 out of 197. I thought I was moving much slower, but my pace was pretty consistent with my training. I was very pleased that the swim and bike didn't wear me out enough to mess with my running pace.
As I was approaching the finish line, there were two guys in front of me who crossed it pretty much the same time. The announcer called their names. I was excited that that would happen for me. Throughout this whole race, you're just a number, a face in the crowd. To be called by name, above all places at the finish line, really helps personalize your accomplishment.
(I came in 141/197 on the run.)
Me and my finisher's medal.
So, how'd I do? 197 people started the race. Two dropped out after the swim, so technically I came in 195/197! :) This just makes me laugh. For not coming from any of these sports, I'm very pleased. Plus, this is one of the most competitive races of the year from what I hear. I also came in under my goal of 2.5 hours at 2:25:58.
So, while coming in pretty much dead last makes me laugh - for now - I am a competitive person and I'm training today to move up in those rankings!